The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (TMNT) is one of the popular franchises that began as a comic book series created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird in 1984 and has since expanded into a film franchise, debuting in various forms such as movies, TV shows, video games, toys, and more. The TMNT revolves around four professionally trained anthropomorphic turtles named Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael.

The franchise recently released its latest installment in August, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, which has been a conversation piece for its distinctive animation from previous TMNTs.

Director Jeff Rowe wants to embark teenage vibe in Mutant Mayhem’s animation

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, movie still
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Director Jeff Rowe wanted the movie to look like a teenage drawing with a messy, fun, and unpredictable style rather than a polished, typical style. Describing the animation of the movie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. The director, Rowe, said they needed the movie to look like a drawing with wired shapes that often reminded audiences of the doodles they might have done in a notebook.

We want the concept artwork to feel distinctly human and not computer-generated. And that means it’s sketchy, imperfect, misshapen, and reminiscent of the way you draw when you’re a child or a teenager, and your passion and enthusiasm for making art haven’t been dimmed by formal art training.

Rowe also emphasized the importance of capturing the energy and rawness of teenagers through animation. He wanted the audience to feel a sense of nostalgia and relate to the imperfect yet vibrant visuals, evoking memories of their teenage years. The producer, Seth Rogen, was overwhelmed by the concept when viewing the wide lines and bizarre proportions that give a pure sense of freedom rather than perfection.

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Mutant Mayhem, heavily inspired by Chungking Express

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, movie still
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem

Production designer Yashar Kassai explains that they need to capture a kind of funny and silly humor that was popular in the past. They crafted the animation in that way, specifically drawing inspiration from the movie, Chungking Express.

“We were looking back to the time when sophomoric gross-out humor was the comedic style of the day. So we started there, but then we added the teenage drawing aspect on top of it as a very strong top layer. We were also heavily inspired by films like ‘Chungking Express.’ 

Turtles hide from human attention, so the scenes mostly take place at night. Since they have to stay away from human presence, they prefer to stay hidden in the dark.  Therefore, it was challenging for the creators to replicate the city in the teenage animation template. So they spend a lot of time designing the nightlife in the city by working with a variety of color schemes.

So they cannot be on a sunlit beach or a sunny day in, like, Central Park. We spent a lot of time diversifying what New York at night looks like and giving it a variety of different color schemes.”

Ramsey Naito, president of Nickelodeon Animation and Paramount Animation, said it was important to find the right creative team for the TMNT. The team was obviously in charge of the best-known franchise. This will help attract many young fans who aren’t even familiar with the previous shows and movies.

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Real teens’ voices elevate Mutant Mayhem with energy and enthusiasm

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, movie still
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem,

The newest installment of TMNT,  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem, is one of the top-rated TMNT so far.  Mutant Mayhem is a charming and fun-filled movie that makes us feel fresh even after its various iterations. It follows the journey of the Turtle brothers, who strive to win the hearts of New York City, hoping that they will be accepted as normal teenagers. Besides the movie’s unusual development in its teenage animation, it features real teens voicing the turtles, which adds perfect energy and enthusiasm, contributing to its success.

Apart from that, the non-teenager roles boast a star-studded cast, including Jackie Chan as Master Splinter, John Cena for Rocksteady, Ice Cube as the villainous Superfly, and Maya Rudolph as the mysterious Cynthia Utrom. Hannibal Buress, Giancarlo Esposito, Paul Rudd, Ayo Edebiri, and Rose Byrne are other notable cast members.

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Source: Variety

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